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The ultimate goal of the field of criminology is to reduce the crime rate and improve negative effects associated with crime.
Criminology is the study of crime as a social phenomenon, often integrating different disciplines such as psychology and sociology to understand why crime happens in one’s particular society. Students will also study methods of prevention and strategies for crime reduction, understanding how the nation’s criminal justice system intersects with theories of social behavior.
Within criminology, there are three schools of thought that students will be exposed to: the Classical School, the Positivist School, and the Chicago School. Each school of thought takes a different approach to understanding the driving forces behind people’s behaviors. Students will also learn practical skills in addition to behavior theory in developing new strategies of shaping positive human behavior.
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What kind of criminology degree should you get?
At the Master’s level, students can choose to enroll in a traditional on-campus program or an online one. Because the majority of master’s in criminology programs are for professionals who already possess some experience in the field and who wish to advance in their career, an online degree is better for those who are already working. Online programs typically only meet a few times a week at scheduled times or are set up where students can access their coursework on their own time during a certain period.
In addition, they are often more affordable than traditional programs. Check out College Choice’s ranking of the Most Affordable Online Grad Schools.
Another similar degree, criminal justice, is also a program people may consider instead of or in conjunction with Criminology. Criminal Justice is the study of the system of law enforcement within the country. Students focus on learning about governmental institutions and how to directly address crime. While criminology may focus more on psychology and crime as a social phenomenon, criminal justice focuses on law enforcement practices. Luckily, for many students, many programs offer a joint degree in criminology and criminal justice.
How much money do people make with a degree in criminology?
In 2012, the average starting salary was $55,000 for criminologists who possess a master’s, with this being $23,000 more than those with only a bachelor’s. As one progresses into the later part of his/her career, a criminologist can make about $65,000 with four years of experience, and $83,000 after 20 years. The highest paid criminologists report getting paid in the six figures range.
According to Payscale, some popular cities to work for in the field of criminology include Washington D.C., San Francisco, Boston, Indianapolis, and Hartford.
What can you do with a degree in criminology?
Although careers in criminology tend to be more academic-focused compared with criminal justice, some people may find themselves directly working in law enforcement. Some common careers include police officer, probation officer, or a forensic science technician. The most common position upon graduation is a criminologist, as this career requires a Master’s. These people are typically employed in places like the government or think-tanks.
For those that also have experience and education in psychology, a job in forensic psychology is another option. Other positions related to criminology include social worker, counselor, or private investigator. In general, professionals in this field can expect to work in jobs that have the purpose of analyzing social problems and creating solutions to solving crime.
What are the requirements for a degree in criminology?
In order to apply for a master’s in criminology, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university is required. Although a bachelor’s in criminology is not absolutely necessary, it may be helpful as many courses build on from prior knowledge. Furthermore, a GPA of 3.0 and above is highly recommended. Applicants should also send in their GRE scores, transcripts, and any other supplemental essays.
Common core classes in criminology include psychology, criminal law, statistics, and research methods. Many programs also offer internships where students are placed in local institutions that deal with crime prevention and intervention. Sometimes these internships may replace a master’s thesis if the degree requires it.
What are the most affordable online master’s in criminology?
Below is College Choice’s most affordable master’s in criminology degree programs. While average net tuition was the primary metric, all of these universities are regionally accredited, so you’re guaranteed a real, valuable degree regardless of the program you choose.
Statistics and data were compiled from individual college websites, the National Center for Education Statistics' IPEDS database, Payscale, and the US News & World Report.
See our rankings methodology page.
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